Six (6) Important Sellers Tips You Need to Know
Deciding to sell you home can be a tough decision, one that is often filled with varying emotions. If you’re thinking about selling your home, getting to the bottom of these emotions and the motivations behind your need or desire to sell can help you have a successful and selling experience.
Other very important factors in deciding to sell are timing, current market conditions and your personal financial situation. Answering the questions outlined below will set you on the right path.
Decide to Sell
What are the motivations driving your need or desire to sell?
Are you in a position that requires you to sell? Perhaps you’re starting a new job in a new city or your finances dictate that you need to sell. Do you want to move to a larger home or a city closer to work and family?
You might think that the motivations driving your need or desire to sell are obvious, but when you dig down deep, you may find underlying reasons that have implications regarding the sale. Understanding your goals and motivations, and being clear about them with your agent, can help us determine the best way to achieve them.
What is your timeline?
Once you’ve established your goals and motivations, you should set a timeline. Are you buying another property that is contingent on your current home selling? Do you have time to wait for the “perfect” offer? Understanding your timeline will allow us to outline the best course of action to market and sell your home.
What is the local and national real estate market doing?
Understanding the local and national real estate market is a key component in selecting the right time to sell your home. When you choose to work with a qualified real estate professional, you can rest assured knowing they will have the knowledge, experience and understanding of the market to ensure you appropriately position your home to sell for the best terms.
When you choose to work with us, you can count on having all the market data needed to make an informed and knowledgeable decision.
Have you prepared yourself financially?
Before making the decision to sell, you need to spend some time seriously considering your finances. What will the cumulative impact of the sale be? Will there be potential proceeds from selling your property or will you need to bring money to the table? You also need to consider tax savings and estate planning strategies. Our team can point you in the direction of qualified mortgage and finance professionals who can best determine whether or not you’re financially prepared to move forward.
Finding an Agent and Selecting a Price
When it comes to selling your home, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether or not to sell your property independently or via the help of a qualified real estate professional.
There are a lot of excellent reasons to partner with an agent. And when you choose to partner with our team, you can count on our extensive market knowledge, effective marketing strategies, industry partnerships and connections throughout the community to help sell your home for the best terms.
Wondering what to look for in an agent? Here are a few tips:
- Education and Certification: Perhaps the most important factor in choosing a real estate agent is their background and education in the industry. What professional certifications do they hold? What is their background? Our agents represent some of the most knowledgeable and experienced in the area, and hold designations in various fields of real estate.
- Experience: When selling your home, you want a full-time agent that is dedicated to promoting your best interests. This includes strategic marketing plans, knowledge of the market and more. How many similar properties have they sold in the past? What technologies do they use to reach buyers?
- Dedication and Communication: Your real estate professional should be dedicated to providing you with only the best service, and should be able to communicate with you in a way that is effective and timely. What steps does your agent take to stay in contact? Can they explain the process to you in a way that you understand? Are they available to answer your questions?
- Local Market Knowledge: Selling your home for the best terms relies on having a great pricing strategy that is based on local market data. How well does your agent know the area? Do they specialize in the type of property you’re selling? Have they provided you with sufficient market data to make a pricing decision?
What is your property worth?
Without a real estate professional, many homeowners fall into the trap of overestimating the value of their property. It’s easy to do. You likely have an emotional attachment to the home, after all. Partnering with a local professional who can provide you with accurate market data is the best way to ensure you avoid this common pitfall.
Preparing to Sell
One of the most important steps to selling your home is ensuring that it makes a good first impression. There are hundreds of resources online for the best ways to stage your property, create curb appeal and create a lasting impact with potential buyers. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite tips in the list below.
The Best Ways to Prepare Your Home to Sell
- Consider your home’s curb appeal. Take a good look at your landscaping, your porch or patio, your driveway and that dilapidated shed in the backyard. If it’s not appealing to you, it’s probably not appealing to potential homebuyers.
- Make the necessary repairs. There are many small repairs and upgrades that can make a significant improvement in the appeal of your home. Consider things like window treatments, upgrading the cabinet-pulls in the kitchen, and any little home improvement projects you’ve been putting off.
- Staging your home. First and foremost, be sure to clear you home of any clutter that has collected. The garage should not be in disrepair, the kid’s toy room shouldn’t look like a bomb went off, and you should take the time to clear the kitchen counters. Pay attention to the little details, as well. Remove dog or cat bowls before showings, buy fresh flowers, have your carpets cleaned or even pop some cookies in the oven. It’s all in the name of a good first impression.
- Open house time. When it’s time for an open house, you can count on our team to let you know what to expect. Please note that we will typically ask you to leave the property, as buyers generally feel more comfortable discussing the property without the owners being present.
Accepting an Offer
One of the biggest pitfalls that home sellers make is focusing solely on price when it comes to accepting an offer. Price is just one of the many considerations that should be made when comparing and considering offers. Terms and conditions play a great role in whether or not an offer is the right one. Say, for example, you get a full price offer, but the sale is contingent on the buyers selling their own home. Or, what if you get an over-asking offer, but the buyers can’t close for 90 days?
As your agent, you can count on our team to advise you to consider all of the terms and conditions – including price – before accepting any offer.
As real estate professionals, it’s our job to find a win-win agreement that is beneficial to all parties involved. With that being said, we are also required to promote and protect our clients’ best interests. You can rest assured that we negotiate on your behalf to ensure your selling experience is nothing short of exceptional.
Binding Agreement and Deposit
In most cases, being “under contract” means that both the potential purchaser and the property owner have made an agreement on pricing and terms, and are ready to move forward. Once an agreement is met, things like inspections and appraisals take place. This is also when an earnest money deposit will be held in an escrow account pending the fulfillment of conditions or contingencies in the agreement.
During this time, it is imperative that you are responsive to your real estate agent, keep written records of everything, provide documentation where necessary, and stick to the schedule.
As real estate professionals who have negotiated and closed countless transactions, you can count on our team to keep you abreast of the process and constantly updated so you’re always prepared and ready for the next step towards closing.
Escrow, Inspections & Appraisal
In most cases, potential homebuyers will make their offer to purchase your home contingent on it being inspected by a licensed property inspector. There is typically a time frame, called the due diligence period, in which the inspection must be completed. Additionally, if the agreement is conditional upon financing, the property will also need to be appraised to determine its value for the lending institution. This is also performed by a licensed third-party.
To ensure the process moves smoothly, you should do your best to be flexible and facilitate these appointments as needed. Your real estate agent will keep you abreast of the results of the inspection and appraisal.
Title Research and Closing Agent
As the sales process progresses, a title company or closing attorney will be selected as the closing agent. It is their job to examine and insure that the title to the real estate is clear. They are also responsible for completing the recording of the sale and will certify that your title is free and clear of encumbrances such as mortgages, leases and liens, and that all new encumbrances are included in the title at closing.
Basically put, a contingency is a condition that must be met before the contract becomes legally binding. Needing to secure financing, wanting a satisfactory inspection and reviewing pertinent documents are just a few of the types of contingencies you may run into.
Depending on the outcome of the inspections, for example, several things can happen:
- Each milestone is successfully reached and the contingencies are removed; or
- The potential buyer is unsatisfied with the inspection, appraisal, documents or other contingencies, and requests a renegotiation of the terms of the contract.
Just as it was important for you to remain objective in accepting an offer, it is important to remain objective when reviewing any renegotiation requests. As your real estate professional, you can count on sound advice to help you continue to progress to the closing table.
Close of Escrow
If you’re thinking about closing, congratulations! You’re in the home stretch. The close of escrow is the final step in the sale of your home, and the closing table is where the ownership of your home will officially transfer to the new owners. There are several steps that happen between signing the contract and closing the deal, however. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Prior to the official closing, it is customary that the buyers will do a final walk through the house. This typically happens the day before or the day of closing. This formality is to ensure everything is in working order and is in the same condition as when they last viewed the property.
Don’t forget to cancel your home services and utilities after the closing occurs. We can provide you with a list of useful contact numbers for these services, if needed.
The Day of Closing
On closing day, make sure you’re prepared. Don’t forget a copy of the contract, your keys and garage door openers, your checkbook if money is required to close and your driver’s license. It is rare that hiccups happen this late in the game; however, we’re ready to help you walk all the way through to the closing table. We’ve seen it all and can help make this transition as smooth as possible.
During closing, the closing agent will provide all parties with a settlement statement, which will outline and detail the financial transactions enacted during the process. Both the buyers and sellers will sign the documents, as well as the closing agent. If you’re receiving funds from the sale, you can elect to have the funds wired to an account or have a check issued.
This process will officially transfer the property to the new owners.